The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Public servants must reside in their district

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January 22, 2020 | Krissia Palomo | campus editor

When a politician wants to run for president in America, they must be a natural-born citizen. When they want to run for U.S. Senate, they must reside in the state they wish to serve. However, when someone wants to run for the House of Representatives, they aren’t required to live in the district they hope to represent. This exception has allowed political opportunists to run campaigns to represent districts they have never lived in.

The requirements to be able to run for Congress are stated in the Constitution. While a new qualification could be added to ensure that the representative of a district resides in the community they are vying to represent, this would require an additional constitutional amendment. 

If a person cares enough about an area to step up and say, “I want to represent them in Congress,” they should at least live there. It doesn’t make sense to not have any ties to a community but want to represent it. Many politicians run in districts where they don’t reside because they see the opportunity of an attainable race. 

Democratic congressional candidate Kim Olson is running to represent Texas’ 24th congressional district, where half of NE Campus lies. However, Olson lives an hour and a half outside of the district. Since joining the race, Olson has updated her voter registration to prove she votes in the district. It is unclear whether Olson actually lives at the residence that her voter registration indicates. 

While Texas is notorious for its gerrymandered districts, there is no ethical reason that a candidate should live outside of the district they wish to represent. If the objective of a person running for Congress is only to get ahead in their political career, they aren’t running for the right reasons. 

State and county parties are allowing this to happen because strong candidates may come from outside of the district, and if someone seems promising enough to flip the district one way or another, nothing else matters. This issue is not a legality one, but an ethical question of whether our potential officials have their constituencies’ best interests in mind. 

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